I published this post last year on skirt.com. Now that we are rounding the corner to Mother’s Day, I thought it was worth re-posting here, with an updated picture from my garden.
Sending love and light to all we mothers who know grief.
For some of us, Mother’s Day is a mixed bag.
I don’t like the word miscarriage. I didn’t lose my baby. But I did experience a loss. The event itself was painful and scary. And private. But I will say this; early in my second trimester, I went into labor. I delivered. And I left the hospital empty handed.
For the first several days, I was awash with grief. Consumed, really. I still had my toddler who needed me. My physical recovery took weeks; my emotional recovery a lot longer.
No one tells you that you will be fine one moment and crying in the canned goods aisle of the grocery store the next.
No one tells you that you can’t really grieve with anyone, even your partner.
No one tells you that you’ll feel guilty at the thought of another child ever joining your family.
And the bottom line is, no one really wants to talk about dead babies.
But I got help. I talked about my baby and my loss with people who were able to listen. Telling my story to trusted friends was so, so important. I was amazed at the mothers from all corners of my life who came out of the woodwork…mothers who had also experienced the loss of a child.
There are a lot of us, you know. More than you think.
There were voicemails and cards and facebook messages. I never responded to most of them but I listened and cherished each one. The wise words of women who had gone before me told me that I had to create a space for this grief inside of me, to make a home for it. They told me to do something to memorialize the baby.
A few months later, on my due date, my husband and I planted a rose garden. It’s a simple memorial; just a small trellis to support the climbing roses.
It’s been 4 years now. I still smile when I walk by the rose garden each day. I roll the velvety petals between my fingers. I admire its tenacious growth.
I like seeing a reminder of our baby; it’s not morbid or morose to me. It feels like walking past a favorite family photo.
Over the years, I’ve clipped roses and brought them to friends who have experienced similar (and different) losses. I’ve listened to their stories and when appropriate, I’ve shared mine.
The roses bloom every year in Spring, usually right before Mother’s Day. Every year I’m surprised at the burst of color in early May. Every year I take time to reflect and remember.
I remember my baby and the short time we had together.
I remember to be grateful for the 2 beautiful daughters I have.
I remember all of the mothers who experience Mother’s Day like I do, with a mixture of happiness and grief.
For those mothers, I give you roses from my garden: